Virgin Atlantic, one of the world's leading long-haul airlines, today announced it has selected Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines to power its Boeing 787-9 fleet of aircraft.
The order, worth $2.6b, includes 15 sets of installed engines and four spare engines for Virgin Atlantic's confirmed aircraft order, and engines for the options and purchase rights on a further 28 aircraft. The agreement also includes a long-term maintenance agreement to ensure the engines remain at peak performance through their life. Virgin Atlantic is also forming a new environmental partnership with Rolls-Royce, in which both companies will work together to continually lower fuel burn and emissions.
The 75,000lb thrust Trent 1000 engine will power the airline's 787 order -- which includes 15 firm 787s along with a further 8 aircraft options and 20 purchase rights. Deliveries of the airline's 787s are due from 2011 onwards.
Sir Richard Branson, President of Virgin Atlantic, commented:
"Virgin Atlantic has chosen the cleanest possible engines for its more fuel-efficient future with the 787 Dreamliner. Rolls-Royce engines will help us cut emissions per flight by nearly 30 percent as we pursue our goal to become the most sustainable airline in the world. Our new environmental partnership will also bring major benefits to the aviation industry, as we work together to deliver the most efficient engines in the sky, and continuously improve the fuel burn of our fleet of aircraft."
James M. Guyette, President & CEO, Rolls-Royce North America, commented:
"This is a vote of confidence in the Trent family by Virgin Atlantic, which has been a long-standing customer with Rolls-Royce. Working together to address environmental issues is an aspect of our relationship where we share a common agenda, and we're excited by the challenge." Virgin Atlantic has a fleet of 38 aircraft -- 19 A340-600s, 6 A340-300s and 13 B747-400s. Currently Virgin Atlantic has Rolls-Royce engines on its entire A340-600 fleet.
The Boeing 787-9, which can carry up to 290 passengers depending on the bed or seat layout, brings a step change in aviation and will substantially reduce the industry's impact on the environment. The Trent-powered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner will burn 27 percent less than an A340-300, which equates to an equivalent reduction in carbon emissions per passenger. Its innovative design, with over half of the aircraft built from composite materials, helps to reduce fuel burn and carbon emissions significantly. The noise footprint of the 787-9 is also 60 percent smaller than the A340-300, benefiting local communities living close to airports.
Last week Virgin Atlantic became the first airline in the world to successfully fly a plane using biofuel. The Boeing 747-400 flew between London Heathrow and Amsterdam on a mix of babassu nuts from the Amazon rainforest and coconuts from The Philippines. Virgin Atlantic is also the only airline to offer passengers the opportunity to offset their flights actually onboard the aircraft during their journey. The scheme is a Gold Standard program run in conjunction with Swiss-based company MyClimate.